The Russian broadcaster Channel 1 has determined that the popular singer Sergey Lazarev, should again represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest. Maybe the Russians now build on the safe bank, as the Russian were struggling in the last two years: first the disqualification in Kiev for Julia Samoylova, as she visited the Crimea and therefore was not allowed to enter Ukraine. Channel 1 gave her a second chance and Julia could sing for Russia in Lisbon, unfortunately, the song “I Won’t Break” did not get far and only made the 15th place in the Semi Final. In contrast Sergey Lazarev has made a fulminant 3rd place in Stockholm with “You Are The Only One” and a breath taking stage performance. Sergey won the televote with 361 points, and came fifth with the national jury scoring 130 points.
Sergey Lazarev, whose original name is Sergei Wjatscheslawowitsch Lasarew was born in Moscow in 1983. Since his early childhood he has been studying singing, dancing and rhythmic sports gymnastics, joined a children’s choir and a band called Neposedi. In 2001 he has been founding the boy group Smash, which went under contract by Universal records. This band has been selling albums worldwide also in Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In parallel Sergey has also been working on his solo career and studied drama at the drama school in Moscow. In 2008 he tried to enter the national final in Russia for the ESC with the song “Flyer” which came 4th, when Dima Bilan made the race with “Believe”. With his appearance in the 2016 ESC in Stockholm he crowned his career and started to be even more successful, received many awards such and released an album full in Russian language.
A funny coincidence happens in Tel Aviv, both singers Sergey and Serhat the Sammarinese representant have performed in the 2016 ESC in Stockholm, and this year they are going to repeat that.
The Russian entry “Scream” is completely different from Sergey’s previous song. It’s a powerful ballad with a great choir. The song is about finding the explanation for true love:
“Though my throat is on fire My eyes will be liars And they’ll try to stay drier Until you turn away”
Sergey will be supported by Cypriot singer and singing coach Alexandros Panayi who has been on Eurovision stage a couple of times. He also coached Sergey back in 2016. On of the composers is the ESC guru Philip Kirkorov, who always wanted to win the ESC. With these good preconditions a good placing in the Grand Final is guaranteed. It’s even on of the hot favourites for the ESC crown this year.
Top 10: 12
Chance for Top 10: 55%
Chances for Final: 87%
Russia’s debut year has been in 1994 in Dublin with “Vechni Stranik” by Youddiph, she made a very good 9th place in Dublin. At that time Russian pop music was not very well known in Western Europe. In the same year the ESC has opened its doors to six new countries, which were Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Estonia. This was due to a very high interest in participation of these countries.
It’s no surprise that the majority of the Russian entries were sung in English, only the three first entries have been sung in the native Russian language. This increases the chances of good placings.
Furthermore the aim of the Russians is to spread out the image of the utmost contemporary music to the world – the new music from Russia. A similar effect could be monitored at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sotchi during the opening ceremony. The newest beats and techniques have been used to show that Russia is ultra-modern, even more than the traditional west.
The big wish to win the ESC came true in 2008, when Dima Bilan sang “Believe” in Belgrade, with the help from the violinist Edvin Marten and the Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who won three gold medals at the Olympic Games. This was the first ice-skating performance at Eurovision. For many this exaggerated performance was far too much, but it also contributed to the first Russian victory at the same time.
One year later the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Moscow for the first time in history. The Russians have put every effort into these three live shows to make it the most modern ESC ever. The latest technology has been used, in particular the massive usage of LED lights ever in ESC history. But the Russians have often been close to victory four times 2nd place, and two times 3rd place. With such a good statistics nobody can complain. 12 times Russia made it into the Top10, so there is a chance of 55% for Russia to be on a top position. There is always a lot of neighbour country voting from the ex-Soviet countries, so Russia always qualified for the Grand Finals, but last year in Lisbon, Russia did not make it into the Grand Final for the first time ever. Julia Samoylova has been disqualified from the 2017 ESC, which was held in Kiev. At her second chance in Lisbon with “I Won’t Break” , she could not fulfil her dream.
Russia is the biggest country in the world and it has a huge amount of viewers, the interest in the ESC has grown from year to year, there were also singers from the Asian part in Vladivostok: Mumiy Troll with “Lady Alpine Blue” (12th). Interesting to see is that there are ten time zones in Russia. Watching the ESC in Eastern Russia means people have get up at 7 o’clock in the morning to witness the live show, similar to Australia.
Publisher, Editor, Journalist
About me: My first Eurovision Song Contest I watched behind the walls of the former GDR in 1987. This was even possible at that time! Since then I am following the ESC every year on TV. In 2004 I had the chance to watch it live in Istanbul. Due to the fact that Jens and Bernd have collected many interviews, photos, etc. the idea came up to show all this contest to the public. We founded the website eurovisionlive.com and we have been one of the first to offer the medium internet for the Eurovision Song Contest.